If you are one of my lovely Facebook friends or you have happened across my tweets in the years gone by, you probably think I am a bit of a grumpy bastard.
I assure you, this isn’t true. My heart swells at the sight of a beautiful sunset, a good meal or an awesome show, my eyes well up when watching “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” or “Long Lost Family” and I get all giddy at the prospect of a free update to my favourite audio software.
To try and convince you, Dear Unknown Friend, that I am indeed made of softer stuff, I have decided to try and put into words just a small sampling of the things that make me feel joy, giddiness, excitement and good old fashioned happiness.
I love my family and friends.
I love the sound of a good PA in a great venue.
I love a short soundcheck.
I love cooking for my wife. Mostly versions of Spaghetti Bolognese.
I love new technology and manuals.
I love (most) Apple Products.
I love installing software updates with exciting new features that will eventually crash my system and force me to do a full reinstall. I love doing full reinstalls.
I reluctantly love Amazon Prime (although I hate Amazon’s business ethics and how they treat their staff and I will participate in any effort to force them to change their ways. Even cancelling my beloved Prime if need be. (Actually – just did))
I love synthesizers – All of them. Oberheim. ARP. Yamaha. Sequential Circuits. Roland. Ensoniq. Emulator. Moog. Korg. (Mostly Korg.)
I love Facebook.
Anyone who doesn’t have a regular office or works around the world will recognise the need to stay in touch with people in a casual but friendly way. Facebook is that way. Now, invite me to play Farmville again and I will hide your toothbrush in my ass, but like every other passtime it’s best enjoyed responsibly. I owe a lot of good things to FB (also, a lot of Cat videos.)
I love bands.
There is something about the inherent dysfunction that exists within a band that solo artists will never experience, I think. The joy of having someone to agree/disagree with, to fight and make up with over petty things. Someone to share both the limelight and late night load outs with equally. I could never be a solo artist – but I could have been in a band.
Back in the day, that is.
Now I’m waaaaay too comfortable.
I love a great gig.
It’s the main reason I went back on the road.
I love it when the crowd gets what the band is doing. When the band is running at max potential. When the crew are good, relaxed and happy. When you have that rare moment in a show where you actually get to enjoy your work. I could list an almost infinite amount of things I hate about touring, but somehow The Great Gig resets my loathing for airports, invoicing, logistics and waiting. I suspect that most of my Road Warrior friends feel the same way. (Also, that’s another list.)
I love a good Tour Bus.
Something with great aircon that doesn’t make me cough my lungs out. A bus with a functioning WIFI connection to call home, a decent toilet, a popcorn maker, a cool fridge, good bunks with plenty of fresh air and somewhere where you can relax in silence when the party is raging elsewhere. I love a quiet Tour Bus with an excellent driver.
I love early mornings. Reluctantly.
But there is something about getting ahead of the world before it descends on you like a hungry eagle and tears you limb from limb. Like getting the best position on a surfboard before the wave strikes. (I would imagine – the thought of being on a board in the surf frightens the bejeezus out of me.)
I love people who are good at their jobs.
I had an epiphany when we played Coachella with MØ earlier this year:
The world is absolutely jam packed with beautiful people.
It’s no wonder, really – Naturally, most people will try their hardest to be attractive and confident and make pretty babies, using all the knowledge and technologies at their disposal, forged by centuries of research to make our brains believe that this particular girl/boy is just the picture of perfection and a worthy mate for the procreation of the species.
But “beautiful” as a singular attribute is useless. Beauty should be a coincidental attribute, not a life goal.
People who are good at their jobs rock my world. (That these people are also beautiful, is just an evolutionary stroke of good fortune.) The list is a lot longer.
I love manual labour.
Actual work, you know, with your hands. My fondest memories are always centered around actually doing things. With my parents, with friends, in my in-law’s garden, repointing a wall, painting a door, making a new fence, reassembling my bike, soldering cables and packing up FOH after a sold out show.
You can have the backstage party to yourselves, if I can just have a quiet arena and two hours to carefully wipe down the desk and pack my boxes in an almost ceremonial way, maybe with a good colleague for nice conversation. If you think I long for the executive corner office, you know me very little.
I love landing at Gatwick Airport.
This one’s a no-brainer. It means that I am less than 60 minutes away from what has become my home, Eastbourne. And then predictably:
I love Eastbourne.
Who’d have thunk it ? From the burned down pier and the corny seafront hotels to the downs and the freaky abundance of churches, I dig this place so much. It holds a large chunk of my family and so many places and people that bring me a slice of happiness. Dave Lynch and the amazing Electric Zoo studios, Jal The Hair Dresser, Nelson Coffee, Camilla’s Books, The Towner, the old fashioned station building and Harry Ramsdens Fish & Chips. Paul The Editor & Christine The Jeweller, Brother Bjarke/ Sister Mary and little Nephew Benjamin, Neil The Electro Wizard and Rachel The Florist/Cellist. I am even fond of the recurring characters around Eastbourne Town Centre. Like the 6’8″ 70’s Gerard Depardieu look-alike who wanders around the Andale Center in his tight bell bottoms and belly-overhang boheme shirt. And the fact that Eastbourne has a yearly cross dressing gentlemens gathering that no one really talks about.
I love Eastbourne because it has no relevance for my career. Moving here was purely driven by love and nothing to do with expanding the business.
A move that all of us self employed people rarely get to make.
I love letting people know how I feel about them. (usually only in a positive way)
If you, like I, believe that there is only one round on this rollercoaster, then you’ll start to get a sense that professions of great affect and appreciation for other people should be an integral part of your life and not saved for retirement speeches and eulogies. The back of that medal is that the opposite then also applies, but with a bit of perspective you start to realise that “people who annoy you” usually don’t set out to do so and as such, appreciation can take on many forms. I have a lot of love for people I don’t even like, because I understand the urge to be yourself. I understand the responsibility that comes with this. Honesty and hard work.
But most of all – I love Catherine and all that comes with her.